By Perez Brisibe
UGHELLI – JOURNALISTS who visited the Ughelli collation center of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to monitor the collation of results from last Saturday’s presidential and national assembly elections, were restricted from gaining access into the premises.
Also banned from monitoring the exercise were domestic observers from various groups such as the Transition Monitoring Group, TMG,
The ban is coming amidst watertight security made up of a special team of mobile policemen and soldiers, positioned at the three access points to the center.
The three routes from Post Office road, Olotu street and Oteri road, are being manned by stern-looking security operatives who only allow INEC staff, security operatives and journalists into the area which also plays host to the Ughelli ‘A’ division police station and Ughelli Police Area Command headquarters.
However, efforts to gain access into the collation center by journalists including Vanguard who got to the venue as early as 9a.m was restricted by the Electoral Officer, EO in charge of the center, Andrew Akhigbe.
Giving reasons for his actions at about 11a.m, the Electoral Officer said, “We are still collating results and can’t afford to allow you to be inside here for now.”
Condemning the ban, executive director of the Value Rebirth Initiative, VREI, Pastor Edewor Egedegbe, described it as “undemocratic and an affront on the electoral exercise.”